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(Determining Your Strengths & Weaknesses for the NPTE®)

While you are working on testing your thoughts and identifying your current perceptions, let’s talk about how you can identify your strengths and weaknesses on the NPTE®.


First, if you have already taken the exam, it’s good to compare past NPTE® score reports to identify strengths and weakness content categories. When you look at the score report, there are lots of numbers and graphs and tables - so what do you pay attention to?

ALWAYS pay attention to the scaled score (the third column under the “Your Score” column). This is the number out of 800. An 800 is technically a perfect score, however you do not have to get all the questions right in a section to get an 800 score, which is why we call this a scaled score. It is the score that the board uses to determine whether a pass or a fail (600 or over is passing). This score comes from some crazy algorithm FSBPT uses to ensure that all examinations are scored the same, even though the questions are slightly different from exam to exam.

So take home message is look at the scaled score. This is how you best assess where you are. Don’t worry about the percentage or the number of questions you got right. When you compare score reports, check the scaled scores.

You can do this if you haven’t yet taken the NPTE®. The best way to do this is to use the score report from practice PEAT® exam.


We somewhat harp on the “big 3” content categories of Musculoskeletal Systems, Neuromuscular Systems, and Cardiopulmonary Systems, but this is because these make up the majority of the exam. When you’re assessing your scaled scores, look specifically under these categories and note how far you are from a “passing” (600) in each category.

First assess if any of these categories are below threshold (600). Then you can look at your other categories. Just because one of these “big 3” categories are below 600, doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t good at treating Musculoskeletal, Neuromuscular, or Cardiopulmonary patients. There are a lot of students who want to do orthopedics and love outpatient orthopedic settings but also struggle with the MSK category.


So why would you potentially have a low score in a category without being incompetent in that category? Because the last thing you have to ask yourself when assessing your score report and strengths/weaknesses is: it is content, or question?

What do we mean by that?

Once you determine an under-performing category (less than 600), you then have to figure out why. This is where it gets tricky, because the best way to do this is to go through questions, but that is only an option with the PEAT®. You might have to use some practice questions from other sources to help you answer.

The question is, do you need a refresher on the content? Are you getting those particular questions wrong because you do not understand the topic and/or content? OR, are you getting those questions wrong because of the wording of the question?

This is the diverging path. Sometimes the answer is both, but what happens MORE frequently? Content problems, or question-answering problems?


When trying to assess your strengths and weaknesses, you can use your score report as a guide. Check to see which categories are less than a 600. Then, go more in-depth and see if you can determine why you are getting those particular questions wrong. It isn’t always black and white. Yet it is the way to move forward.

If you find yourself really struggling with determining strengths, weaknesses, or a plan to conquer the NPTE®, consider doing a FREE 20-minute consultation with Jace, PT, DPT, COMT for extra guidance. Click here to schedule a time to meet.

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